How to Write A CEO Resume Tips and Tricks That Work

Imagine this. You are currently working as a Senior Level Manager or in an Executive position and you have slogged for years. Suddenly, you open your professional social media profile and you receive a message stating that your dream company is hiring a CEO and they are requesting you to send your resume. Panic ensues.

Updating your resume as an Executive or C-suite professional can be daunting. As a prospective CEO, you have officially gained the kind of bragging rights that are exclusive to top-tier candidates with superior levels of career experience. However, presumably, your competitors have it, too.

In fact, as per the Executive Career Outlook Survey by BlueSteps, India ranks second on job optimism with 57% of Senior Management and C-suite executives expecting more roles to open up in the top-tier. So, the competition out there is fierce and unforgiving and it is an absolute necessity that your resume stands out so you can make the cut.

But fret not, as we are here to guide you through the process of writing the best-in-class resume for a CEO/any Executive position.

1. Craft a Unique Executive Summary

You know that over the years, you do have a lot of achievements and accolades to your name, and you do have one pertinent question: how do you write years’ worth of achievements in a single, crisp summary? However, when done right, this executive summary will serve as your potential sales pitch. The general idea here is to highlight your relevant experience, chart out your accomplishments and most importantly, provide insights as to what you can bring to the table for an organization.

A) Brainstorm your content

Before drafting your executive summary, you will have to really collate your thoughts into what exactly you would like to say. If you aren’t sure where to start, these few brainstorming pointers might come in handy.

    • If I could tell the hiring panel just three things about myself, what would they be?
    • Which career achievements am I the most proud of?
    • What is my area of expertise?
    • What are my intangible strengths (pragmatic, entrepreneurial, etc).
    • What unique skills, experience and traits do I bring to the table?

B) Set your value proposition

Make a strong case for your value proposition. Make it a unique blend that exudes your skills, personality, and expertise. Add everything you feel would make you look attractive for the prospective employer and make sure that it answers the oft-repeated question, “why should we hire you?”

In case you aren’t sure what your value proposition should look like, one idea here is to work backwards. Reflect on why you think the company should hire you by defining yourself. Ask questions to yourself and try answering them. A couple of questions to get your started: Are you a dynamic agent of change? Are you a bona fide finance expert or are you a revenue-generating machine?


2. Make your Experience Section Shine

Now that you have managed to break the ice by writing a groundbreaking executive summary, this part of the CEO resume is equally crucial. Imagine your experience section as the space to convince the hiring panel that you are a resilient leader and get the right results all the time. It is the promise of your past performance citing the actions and outcomes that you will deliver again for the next organization you are a part of.

Ideal way of going about this is to get into the minds of everyone who will be going through your resume and assessing your potential as a CEO candidate. Imagine that yours is the last resume they read for the day, their eyes are glazing over from reading way too many generic CEO resumes with tedious job descriptions.

It is understandable that you have worked with a lot of top organizations and the task at hand is, your years worth of experience need to be boiled down to 4-5 bullet points and it can seem a bit cumbersome at first. It is always wise to support your achievement by a tangible metric. Instead of being vague and wavering, metrics provide context and credibility to your profile. Here are few examples to get you started:

  • Attained 45% revenue growth in just 3 months
  • Reduced IT infrastructure overhead costs by 30% by transitioning from Legacy systems into a cloud-based solution.
  • Revamped the customer success team that resulted in 25% revenue growth and 68% decrease in client attrition.


3. Add a Compelling Education Section

Of course we know the stories of Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg who made it big without any college-certified educational qualifications, but it’s quite a rare phenomenon. Your CV education is most likely pretty straightforward. List down the degrees relevant to the job, ranked from the highest to the lowest, and make sure you mention any scholastic awards or other special achievements and honors.

Most importantly, a CEO resume must NEVER contain your high school degree – for a CEO position, it is assumed that you have graduated from school and additionally, mentioning it just takes up more space in your resume.


4. Choose your Skills Wisely

Though the CV skills list on a CEO resume might seem deceptively simple to create, there is more to it than meets the eye. From an array of expert sources, you will find multitudes of variations on dozens of hard and soft skills for a CEO. You need to be thoughtful and pay close attention to the keywords and skill-specific buzzwords and make sure that they are an exact match with the job description. However, it is wise to not add the keywords as is just because they are relevant, because they might be on your competitors’ resumes as well. It is always better to strive for originality by adding your own twist to the hackneyed skill jargon.

Once you have ticked all the boxes, voila! You have created the perfect version of your CEO resumes.

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